Talk about giving Labour and the Media party a freebie…

A mother of three children was told to pack her things and vacate an Auckland motel room, after it was bought by Housing New Zealand to house the homeless.

Faith Davis had been living at the Cimarron Motel for just over a year, and was one of 11 long-term tenants staying there in an agreement with Work and Income.

Last month the government bought the motel to help ease demand for emergency housing. The tenants were told they had to move out once their leases expired.

Many found other places to live, but four, including Ms Davis, were still struggling.

“Every time I get a call back, they want a full family and not a single mum, or they want professional workers, or they want students that work,” she said.

“It’s quite annoying.”

Ms Davis was also on a waiting list with Housing New Zealand, and had since been told she would soon have a home, but said her time in limbo had been traumatic.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said none of the tenants at the motel would be forced to leave.

“I was very clear with both MSD [Ministry of Social Development] and HNZ [Housing New Zealand] last week that current tenants were to be supported, and no one need leave until they had something permanent, and better suited to their needs long-term, than a motel unit.”

But Ms Davis said she got a call yesterday from the property manager for Propertex, the owner of the motel, who told her she and her children were being evicted that day.

“I had a conversation with her and she told me to vacate the property before today, because she’s coming to check all the units to see if they’re clean.

“I asked her if I could stay on board for a bit longer, but she said Housing New Zealand has bought the property and they’re putting the homeless people in here.”

So she packed up and took her three children to Work and Income, who sent her to a motor lodge in Otara, with a $1300 cheque that would let her stay there for seven days.

Under the proviso that this is reported accurately, this is likely to take on some momentum.  Throwing out a WINZ sponsored tenant to house the homeless and then pay $1300 to cover the week’s “rent” at another motor lodge is just the kind of madness that the opposition can dine out on for weeks.


– Mohamed Hassan, RNZ

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